1. Take Advantage of Family Vacations: If you have extending family together for vacation, it can be a great time for a portrait. Think about possible groupings that you may want, such as siblings and generational shots. Make sure to research local photographers and possible locations ahead of time to make it a fun outing.
2. Think About Display First: Before your shoot, ask your photographer what products he or she offers. Think about your home and your personal style. Share which products you love before you shoot and your photographer can tailor the shoot. I personally have an app that allows me to customize displays for each individual client's home.
3. Wardrobe: Think about your personal style and your home. Do you have a traditional home or a modern beach house? What colors do you love? Then try to bring these colors into your wardrobe. I prefer coordinating rather than matching, and I love incorporating texture and layers.
4. Schedule Around the Youngest: It can be difficult with younger ones to do an extended family portrait. Try to schedule around your child’s nap and meal times. Remember, if you’re doing beach photography, midday is tough light-wise, early morning or evening work best.
5. Make it Fun: Portraits don’t need to be stressful. Oftentimes, families go in with the image of a perfect smiling shot, and...well...kids are going to be kids. When they misbehave or are tired and begin to melt, instead of yelling, it's best to redirect the energy. The next two tips address this very thing.
6. Bring Props: It’s less about that perfect prop and more about bringing something your kids enjoy, like a kite or toys for the beach. If there is an activity to break up the more traditional shots, kids tend to be more patient. Most of my clients' kids are thrilled to do portraits again because they associate it with play time with their cousins.
7. Let the Kids Pick: I sometimes ask the kids where they want to shoot or how they want to stand, and they have a blast. If a little one wants to make silly faces in every shot, I have everyone make silly faces. The winning shot is always the next frame when everyone is laughing and smiling. It works!
8. Banish Cameras and Phones: It seems like a great time to have your camera or cell phone out to snap a few shots while all the family is there, but this can create issues. Many times, kids end up looking at the family members and not the photographer. It is best to leave the devices and enjoy the day!